Argentina’s Independiente wins Copa Sudamericana in Rio
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Fan violence around the Copa Sudamericana final failed to dampen Independiente celebrations of its second title.
The Argentine side, nicknamed the King of Cups, drew with Brazil’s Flamengo 1-1 on Wednesday to win the final 3-2 on aggregate.
But the final was marred by fighting on the streets, in the stands, and on the Maracana pitch.
Hundreds of Flamengo fans broke into the Maracana and attacked Independiente supporters on nearby streets. Police used stun grenades to calm that situation.
Since Tuesday, more than 50 Flamengo fans have been detained in incidents with Independiente fans. Fireworks were set off outside Independiente’s hotel and police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Buses carrying the Independiente team and fans were hit by rocks as they arrived at the Maracana.
Independiente fans were filmed making racist gestures to locals.
After the final, Independiente tweeted and referenced the Flamengo fans who lit fireworks to try and disrupt the team’s sleep.
”We are sorry that you are feeling sleepy. Maybe you should have gone to bed earlier yesterday. Football is decided on the pitch. We know a lot about it,” the club said on Twitter. ”Have more respect with the King of Cups.”
Independiente coach Ariel Holan, who spent most of his career working at field hockey teams, criticized the animosity around the team’s first trophy since the 2010 Copa Sudamericana.
”This title is a dream to me. But these problems off the pitch need to be eradicated. Not only in Brazil, but all over Latin America,” Holan said.
With support from more than 54,000 fans in an overflowing Maracana, Flamengo striker Lucas Paqueta opened the scoring in the 29th minute from a low cross by defender Rever.
Just minutes later, a disputed penalty allowed midfielder Ezequiel Barco to equalize.
Flamengo players were so upset about that decision that midfielder Gustavo Cuellar was dismissed during the runner-up medal ceremony.
Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan also issued seven yellow cards, four of them to Independiente players, all in the last 17 minutes of regulation time.
Flamengo coach Reinaldo Rueda said his team lacked the balance to win.
”We let the emotions of opening the score betray us,” Rueda said.